DILG rejects Metro Manila lockdown

Firemen spray
Firemen spray disinfectant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a market in Manila yesterday. AFP/Maria TAN

THERE is no pressing reason yet to place Metro Manila on lockdown amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) threat, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año yesterday.

“As of now, wala pangreason para maglockdown. NasaCode Red Sub-level 1 pa lang tayo. (There is no reason yet for a lockdown. We are still under Code Red Sub-level 1.) We’ll go up to (Sub-level) 2 kapag may (if there is a) confirmed community transmission of the virus,” Año said in a text message when sought for comment.

He added that the size of the area for a community lockdown would depend on various circumstances.

“Movement will be strictly restricted because the purpose is to contain the virus,” Año said, noting that only the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF EID), led by the Department of Health, has the “authority” to declare Code Red Sub-level 2.

He also gave assurances that the task force would come up with the protocol containing specific details before the issuance of a lockdown order.

If a lockdown is deemed necessary, Año said, local government units, with the support of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, would be ready to enforce it.

“It’s 14 days because that’s the incubation (period) of the virus. With that, you’ll be able to stop the activity of the virus, its spread,” he said.

As of Tuesday, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country climbed to 33.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said symptoms of the Covid-19 include fever, tiredness, and dry cough while some may experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhea.   

PNP ready

Philippine National Police chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday said around 40,000 policemen are ready for deployment in Metro Manila should the government really decide to implement a lockdown in the metropolis to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease.

The PNP chief said that the bulk of the force will come from the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas while the rest will be from the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame. In any eventuality, policemen who will be tasked to implement the lockdown will be equipped with body protection including masks and gloves.